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Controlled activity approvals

How to apply for controlled activity approvals

Learn how to amend, extend, or surrender a controlled activity approval (CAA) or request a security bond release.

controlled activity applications and approvals

Applying for a controlled activity approval

To obtain a controlled activity approval, you must lodge an application on the NSW Planning Portal. There you can:

  • submit applications
  • pay fees
  • upload additional information
  • track your application’s progress through the portal’s dashboard.

Applications that can be lodged on the Planning Portal

Some activities may require approval from a local council, which you should obtain first via the NSW Planning Portal.

New application

New controlled activity approvals Part 4

  • a development application is required
  • the application is for a new controlled activity approval
  • the controlled activity is part of a development that requires development consent from a local council and this development consent has been granted
  • there are three sub-categories, with the total amount payable different for each:
    • assessment time less than 4 hours
    • assessment time more than 4 hours
    • security deposit or bank guarantee required.

New controlled activity approvals Part 5

  • a development application is not required
  • the application is for a new controlled activity approval
  • the controlled activity is not part of a development that requires development consent

Amend an existing approval

  • the application is to amend an existing controlled activity approval under part 4 or 5
  • amendments include changes to the proposed development works and/or property owners.

Extend an approval

The application is for the extension of a controlled activity approval that is about to expire or has expired.

Surrender an approval

The application is to surrender an existing controlled activity approval, or

  • where works have been completed and an extension of your approval is not required
  • where works as specified by the approval have not commenced and will not be commencing.

By surrendering:

  • the controlled activity approval is closed
  • you no longer have approval to continue or commence work on waterfront land
  • you cannot amend or extend a surrendered approval
  • if you wish to continue or start work on waterfront land, you must submit a new application and obtain a new controlled activity approval.

Request a security bond release  

The application is to release a security deposit or bank guarantee that was provided under a condition of a controlled activity approval.

How to apply

Use the Planning Portal to make and/or manage controlled activity approvals. To lodge your application, follow the steps below:

  1. Register for a NSW Planning Portal account by visiting planningportal.nsw.gov.au and clicking ‘My Account’.
  2. Log in to the NSW Planning Portal
  3. Select ‘DPE-Water-Controlled Activity Approval' from the drop-down menu
  4. Press ‘Create New’
  5. Select the type of application you need:
    • New approval
    • Amended approval
    • Extension approval
    • Surrender
    • Security bond release
  6. Select ‘Start application’ using the button in the bottom right corner.

Start CAA application

Help with the Planning Portal

Application fees and payment

Fees are charged to cover the cost of assessing controlled activity approval applications. The fee amount depends on the type of application and assessment required.

You must pay an initial lodgement fee, and the Planning Portal will calculate this based on your application type. Additional fees may also be needed. If this is the case, we will notify you via email.

The department does not accept cash or cheque payments; all payments can be made online.

Application fees are increased annually according to the consumer price index.

Approval type Lodgement fee Additional fee (if applicable)
New approval Part 4Assessment time less than 4 hours $969 N/A
Assessment time more than 4 hours$969$477
+ $156 per hour above 7 hrs assessment time
Security deposit or bank guarantee required$969$953
+ $156 per hour above 7 hrs assessment time
New approval Part 5$484 $156 per hour above 3 hrs assessment time
Amend approval Part 4 or Part 5 $484 $156 per hour above 3hrs assessment time
Extension approval Part 4 or Part 5 $484 N/A
Surrender CAA Part 4 or Part 5$0  N/A
Security bond release $474 $156 per hour inspection fee where works are non-compliant

More information about the fee schedule


Application fees are non-refundable for change of mind or where an application is not granted or refused.

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